Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Walk (07/20/06)
- TITLE: The Long Walk (i)
By Brenda Craig
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With plane late, nerves frayed, moving anxiously in my seat, I came to the attention of a young girl seated next to me.
“Hi, my name is Sue.”
“Hi, Sue. I’m Elizabeth.”
“Well, Elizabeth, it seems you’re anxious about something. Can I pray for you?”
Startled, but pleased, I took her hand.
“Lord, bless Elizabeth on her journey. Give her courageous words to say. Give her the strength to take the next step in her walk of faith. Bless her family with hope. Your will be done. We thank You Father for the answer. Amen”
“Oh, Sue you are so sweet. Thank you. I can’t even describe how accurate your prayer is. You pulled thoughts right out of my heart.”
We continued to talk until the plane landed, to the worried looks of my mother with car packed, waiting to continue the journey.
Covering my face with kisses, she prattled and cooed in her usual tones, bombarding me with questions.
“How was the flight darling? How are the kids? Are you ok? Don’t be worried; we will make it. Did you bring the map?”
Before she could continue, I quietly answered, “yes” and with sun sinking at a threatening pace, I slumped in the seat, sighing with relief.
Mindless chatter filled the car, while Mom’s Midnight Puppy nestled between us, watching me with concern, as if to say the words my mother always reassures him with -
“I understand. I know what feels like to be sad. You won’t be alone. Jesus is here watching over you.”
Yes, You’re watching over us - over him.
Interrupting my peaceful thoughts, a wreck shut the freeway down, forcing us to maneuver back streets where we encountered another wreck.
“Oh, Mom, what else can go wrong?”
“Don’t worry darling; we will make it. Don’t worry.”
These words were fine and dandy until, of all things, we got lost.
“Find the map Elizabeth. Let’s see, maybe we better stop here. Go in and ask for directions and get yourself some coffee while you’re at it. Looks like you need it.”
Dragging myself back to the car, coffee and directions in hand, we made the rest of the journey without delay, however; by the time we arrived at the hotel the sun had disappeared into darkness.
The clock ticked in mocking tones, “You’re too late. “You’re too late. They’ve locked the door. They’ve shut the gate. You’re too late You’re too late.”
Ignoring the mocking tones, I piled everything in a heap, jumped in the car, and rushed to the hospital.
Oh, God. I‘m so late. I don’t even know where he is. What floor? What if he’s already drugged?
Restless thoughts plagued me, following me into the basement entrance, silent compared to the beating of my heart. Stepping into the elevator, following vague written instructions, I made my way to the cardiac unit.
Walking down the hall, peeking in every room, I found him. Daddy was lying, eyes shut, with tubes intruding and extruding from his body. My stomach lurched, ingesting portions of my heart.
He’s so frail.
Disturbed by my shuffling feet, his eyes opened, astonished to see me there.
“Elizabeth, is that you? I didn’t want anyone here until after…”
“Daddy! How could you? Of course, I…I…wanted. I love you Daddy.”
“I love you too Elizabeth. I’m so sorry. Come closer.”
“Yes, Daddy. I’m here now. We…We need to talk.”
We discussed his impending heart surgery at the age of seventy-eight and the possible ramifications, death being one of them. Determined to complete my mission, praying for courage, I made what seemed to be the longest walk of my life, edging myself closer to the bed, taking his roughened hand in mine -
“Daddy, you believe in Jesus, don’t you?”
“Yes, Elizabeth I do, but I haven’t really done anything wrong.”
“I know Daddy, but we have all sinned and must ask Him into our hearts. Have you?”
“Would you like to?”
Holding my fathers heart in my hand, we prayed the sinner’s prayer, as tears slipped down his time-worn face; my long journey, my mission, culminated in the beginning of Daddy’s walk of eternal redemption.
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